Elderly adults may face many physical and mental health challenges in retirement. Fortunately, modern medicine offers a number of treatments to help ease symptoms and even heal diseases.
Therapeutic options can be great alternatives to more invasive treatments like surgical procedures and medication. One therapeutic approach that is becoming more popular is music therapy.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is the practice of using music to help individuals achieve their goals or improve their health. Typically, a professional music therapist will lead patients through treatment using evidence-based methods. However, family members, friends, or caregivers can also guide a loved one through music therapy.
While music therapy has been used in some form for hundreds of years, it has evolved over time to targeted treatments that can be highly effective.
Benefits of Music Therapy for Seniors
Music therapy is becoming more popular with families, caregivers, and medical professionals because it is inexpensive and far less intrusive than other treatments. There are many additional benefits of music therapy for seniors.
Encourages More Movement
Music is a great tool to encourage seniors to be more physically active. It can instantly boost mood and motivate seniors to go on a walk, exercise, or dance. More movement can lead to real health benefits, including improvement in:
- Heart health
- Bone strength
- Muscle strength
Playing music can also be an effective tool to encourage stretching after physical activity. Stretching can work wonders for seniors who struggle with stiffness, joint pain, and mobility issues.
Throughout retirement, seniors may face a number of challenges that cause stress. Stress, especially consistent stress over a long period, can have serious negative health consequences.
It is important for seniors to actively engage in calming activities to keep their stress in check. Music therapy has been proven to relieve stress. It reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Seniors experience the benefits of stress reduction long after the music intervention has ended.
Improves Cognitive Activity
Many seniors will experience some difficulty with cognitive skills throughout their later years. It is important for seniors to continue to stimulate their minds and participate in engaging activities.
Music therapy activates the mind and provides a unique source of stimulation that breaks seniors from their normal routines. For seniors with serious memory loss conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, hearing music can jog memories and bring them back from a state of confusion or depression.
4 Music Therapy Activities for the Elderly
One of the primary benefits of music therapy is how versatile it is and how easy it is to implement, even for untrained caregivers. Music therapy interventions with seniors can be as simple as listening to music or as complex as targeted programs with a music therapist.
1. Music Relaxation
Music can be a highly effective tool to encourage relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness. When they hear music, many seniors will reach a place where they can relax, loosen up, and relieve stress. Curating a selected playlist of relaxing music and listening to it in a calm environment can have immediate and long-lasting benefits.
2. Music Selection
Music selection involves allowing seniors to pick what music they want to listen to. Self-selected songs can bring out emotions and bring back memories from when the senior first heard that song.
Familiar music can instantly take seniors back to a favorite time in life with very fond memories. Self-selecting a song that makes a senior feel good can be a positive reinforcer and instantly boost mood.
3. Performing Music
Seniors can play an active role in music therapy by performing music themselves. They do not have to be trained in playing an instrument to perform. Playing music can be as simple as beating on a drum, casually strumming a string instrument, or singing a song.
Seniors do not have to hit specific notes or perform whole songs to receive the benefits of performing music.
For seniors who enjoy playing music, working with a professional can be a great investment. Learning how to play an instrument has tremendous benefits, including stimulating the mind and improving confidence.
4. Music Movement
One of the primary ways music can help seniors is by encouraging them to be more active. Music can be used to prompt a walk, a stretching routine, or a workout class. There are also instruction classes synced with music that guide seniors through a series of movements to work their muscles and joints and to help them relax.
Try Music Therapy Today
Music therapy comes in so many different forms, all with unique benefits. It is one of the simplest forms of therapy and can be used by almost anyone.
Start experimenting with music therapy interventions with seniors today. You may be surprised by the positive results and make it a regular part of your routine.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.